Ann Henderson – Regional Director/Chair of Governors
I am delighted to take up the post of Chair of Governors for Barton / Maple Grove / Underley Garden School.
My background is as a teacher, headteacher, local authority school improvement adviser for special educational needs, central government adviser to the department for education in relation to autism and most recently as director in two independent children’s service providers.
All my headteacher experience has been working with young people with autism.
When I am not at work I have 6 children, 9 grandchildren and 2 dogs, so I am always busy.
I am looking forward to working with Barton / Maple Grove / Underley Garden School to ensure all of our very exceptional young people reach their potential.
David Glaves – Head of Service
I would like to offer you a warm welcome to Underley Garden.
Underley is a fabulous place to live, learn and work.
We provide a nurturing, supportive and stimulating environment for a cohort of very special young people and we are very proud of the outstanding and often life changing outcomes that we provide for our children and their families.
Our staff team are a group of passionate, committed, enthusiastic and caring professionals who do their very best to make a difference to our children’s lives on a daily basis.
The work that we do is supported and informed by an extensive Clinical, Health & Therapy team that works closely together with school and care staff, parents and other professionals.
I hope that you enjoy finding out more about our unique setting through the information on our website. We also welcome visits from parents, carers and local authorities to the school, so please feel free to contact us to find out more about our sector leading provision or to arrange a visit.
Nicola Harper – Interim Headteacher
I started my journey with Underley Garden School in 2011; after qualifying as a Primary Teacher I came to work in the care home to gain more knowledge and experience of working with young people with special needs, as this was where my passion lay. I moved over to the education team where I have worked as a teaching assistant, teacher, lead teacher of Holly Trees before going off to have my little girl. On return to school in April 2021, I was appointed Deputy Headteacher and it was my responsibility to ensure we were providing an engaging and inclusive curriculum. We strive to ensure all our young people enjoy coming to school and adapting curriculum and environments to ensure they suit their needs as well as supporting them to overcome barriers which prevent them from accessing things that they enjoy.
Most recently I have been given the enormous privilege of being Interim Headteacher whilst April is away; my days are filled with so much joy to watch our young people flourish and become confident individuals – this is down to our extremely hard working team and their knowledge and understanding of how to engage our pupils.
During my time as a class teacher and Lead of Holly Trees, I have watched so many young people go from strength to strength; not only progress academically but breaking down barriers and taking part in activities that they never thought they would be able to.
Since starting at Underley I have enjoyed my variety of roles and each one has given me a different perspective to what our young people need and enjoy; I am so proud of the environment we create to ensure that the pupils come here are happy and thriving to their individual needs.
Jo Savage – Interim Deputy Headteacher
I have worked at Underley Garden since 2005; I have to say it is the most rewarding job I have ever experienced. The young people we have the privilege to support at Underley Garden are all unique and wonderful, they have a wide range of needs and barriers to learning that can be a challenge at times. However, we are extremely fortunate to have knowledgeable multidisciplinary team who can meet to discuss viable solutions, interventions, and resources to support our young people to engage in their learning and become the best version of themselves.
During my time at Underley Garden, I have experienced a wide range of job roles. Initially, I started as a care worker before moving onto the school team as a learning mentor. Over the years, I have been supported and encouraged to follow my dreams and become a qualified teacher. I then went on to complete my QTLS before gaining my National SENCo Award at Edgehill University. I fulfilled the SENCo role for over 4 years at Underley Garden, then In April 2018, I progressed further to Assistant Head with responsibility of overseeing Transitions, Post 16 provision and Career, PSHE and SMSC. In January 2023 I further progressed to the role of Deputy Head teacher.
Throughout my career I have taught a variety of subjects to a wide range of young people and have enjoyed and learnt from every experience. I believe it is important to prepare our young people with the necessary skills for the next steps in their life whether it be further education, supported living or the world of work. I take immense pride in collaborating with our team to ensure each young person’s curriculum enables them to do so.
It is such a privilege watch our young people flourish and develop into the wonderful people they become as well as seeing the progress they have made during their time at Underley Garden.
I began my career at Underley Garden over 13 years ago and within that time I have moved through the organisation’s ranks starting as Care Worker, Senior Care Worker, Deputy Manager, Registered Manager and now Head of Care as well as being the Responsible Individual. This career progression has afforded me an essential insight into every facet of the residential setting.
As a father of a severely disabled child I feel I have invaluable knowledge of what living with and caring for vulnerable young people entails. I always attempt to bring this personal touch to how I relate to the young people in our care but also to the family members and carers that also require our support. As a parent engaged in fighting for my own daughters’ voice to be heard I am passionate in advocating for the young people living at Underley Garden in the exact same manner.
Underley has provided me with a chance to further my own carer whilst at the same time enabling me to be involved in the most rewarding work I have ever known. At times the role can be extremely challenging but when you see the positive outcomes achieved and the difference this can make to a young person and their family then job satisfaction is unmatched.
I work alongside a dedicated team who all have the same ethos as myself and we constantly push each other to achieve the best at all times for the young people in our care.
Sammy Middlehurst – Registered Manager
I have over 8 years of experience working with children and young people with additional needs at Underley Garden, five of those years have been within a management role of Deputy manager and then becoming one of the Registered Managers. I am fully committed to working to a continuous high standard to ensure the best outcomes for the young people at Underley Garden and provide them with brilliant experiences and skills for the future. I have a Level 3 in Residential childcare and Level 5 in Leadership and management for residential childcare and I am always looking to further develop my knowledge. No day is the same at Underley Garden and we have a fantastic team to ensure the best outcomes for all the young people.
Lucas Finch – Registered Manager
I have over 10 years’ experience working with children and young people with additional needs at Underley Garden, six of which have been within a management role – as Deputy Manager before becoming one of the Registered Managers in 2020. I am extremely dedicated and I will use my experience to ensure that the young people here at UGS receive outstanding levels of care so they have the best possible life chances. We have an established and motivated team who go above and beyond to build relationships with the young people, families and social workers of all who reside at UGS.